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Entries in semidead (5)

Tuesday
Apr262011

Terrifyingly Hilarious - The Gimp Under the Stairs 

"See Daddy hates Roach because he got out of the cellar and into the walls…and now Daddy can't find him." - Alice

I grew up next to a funeral home. And after seeing this movie I never looked at my neighbors the same way again. 

 

A brother and sister live in incest in a creepy old mansion/funeral home filled with booby traps, a man-eating rottweiler, a cache of gold, and a bunch of mutilated boys locked in the cellar.

Why this has yet to become a reality show I have no idea.

Wes Craven's little-seen, but still incredible, classic "The People Under the Stairs" features Brandon Adams reprising the role he played in "The Mighty Ducks" and "Mighty Ducks 2." This time instead of playing championship pee-wee hockey, Jesse (who we learn is called Fool in the hood) is off on a whole new adventure when Ving Rhames convinces him that the only way to pay for his dying mother's cancer surgery is to rob their stupidly rich, very deliberately Reagan-esque landlords (who are both clear proxies for Ronald and Nancy Reagan). Funny how a decade later the idea of poor people not being able to afford adequate healthcare is still relevant…but I digress.

 

Doesn't seem all that Fool-ish right? Well it doesn't until they actually break into said house and discover it's not just built to keep black people out, but also to keep mutilated, cannibalistic white people in. Turns out the landlords (who are called Daddy and Mommy respectively, despite being actually brother and sister…eew) are crazier than a carousel of cat shit and have been kidnapping children for years. Of course kids don't take too kindly to being snatched from their parents and abused (presumably sexually…Daddy is kind of a freak) and when they inevitably misbehave Daddy and Mommy are left with no choice but to mutilate them and lock them in the cellar (as you do).

But what happens if one of the kids escapes? Well, that brings us to Roach. At some point Roach got out of the cellar and now makes his home in the abnormally thick walls of the funeral home. Daddy wants him back in the cellar. And Mommy worries about where Roach might be going to the bathroom.

 

So what's a crazed Ronald Reagan stand in to do?

 

Put on a "Pulp Fiction"-style gimp/bondage suit and blast the walls at random with your SPAS-12 shotgun. I wonder if there's a Modern Warfare achievement for that?

 

I think what makes this scene work for me is that it's so incredibly random and unexpected. It's scary because you seriously begin to wonder about Daddy's mindstate and what kind of shit Fool as found himself knee-deep in. But yet…the dude is also wearing a gimp suit. I'm sure being chased by a crazy proto-Tea Partier with a shotgun is frightening as hell in any context, but isn't it just a little easier to handle if the guy is in a gimp suit?

 

 

I've heard that Craven himself admits that this film is an allegory for Reaganomics. The parallels are pretty clear – poor people (black and white) getting the shaft, overpriced healthcare, wealth that isn't trickling down, and I'm told that Ronald and Nancy were actually prone to calling each other "Mommy" and "Daddy."

Once you understand this the politcal message of "The People Under the Stairs" becomes abundantly clear: Strange men in gimp suits are carrying shotguns and coming for your children. And there's nothing you can do about it…nothing. 

Tuesday
Apr192011

Terrifyingly Hilarious: Pt. 1 - The Dark Overlord of the Universe

In keeping with the tone/style of Semi-Dead I've decided to do a blog series profiling some of my favorite films/clips that had just probably the opposite effect they should have. Either it's horrible and frightening and I find it hilarious, or vice versa. You'll get the idea…and in the process I'll probably reveal more than I should about my traumatic childhood.

 

Pt. 1 – The Dark Overlord of the Universe

What was the first movie to ever scare me you ask? Was it The Exorcist? Night of the Living Dead? Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo? Any of these would make sense, but I was not so lucky.

No the first movie that ever scared me was George Lucas' classic "Howard the Duck." But not Howard himself (though I do find the idea of a 4-foot-tall talking duck a bit unsettling). No it had to do with this man:

 

 

Dr. Walter Jenning (played by Ferris Bueller's high school principal).

The basic setup is this: Dr. Jenning is doing some kind of crazy scientisty space-time experiment thingy when he accidentally teleports an alien monster (called a Dark Overlord of the Universe) inside of his own body.

Now most people would be concerned about this, maybe ask to be taken to the hospital, or to a priest, or immediately assume the worse and take a shotgun to their head...Instead Dr. Jenning hops into a van with Howard and sexy, big-haired 80's Lea Thompson (apparently Marty McFly's mom dabbles in bestiality as well as temporal incest) and decides to go grab a bite to eat. 

What follows is one of the most incredibly unsettling moments ever put on screen (I mean the dude had a Japanese hentai tentacle in this throat!) I'm not lying when I say that seeing this movie gave me daily, recurring nightmares that lasted for months. I blame that angry, vagina faced, giant scorpion monster for many a sleepless night.

Yes, in retrospect it's ridiculous. But imagine being 6 years old and seeing this. And (prepare for me to get academic for a second), despite the campiness of it all, the whole Dr. Jenning scenario actually plays well into what horror aficionados call the "body horror" subgenre. Whether it's an arrogant scientist turning himself into a giant fly (The Fly), a Japanese businessman mutating into a metal monster (Tetsuo), or a TV exec growing a mouth on his stomach (Videodrome), there's something deeply unsettling about the notion of losing control of your own body – the idea of the monster being inside you, something that becomes all the more potent in a time when disease is as dangerous a threat as war.

Cheesy or not, I find there's something distinctly Cronenberg-esque about Dr. Jenning's story. In another world perhaps Dr. Jenning would have had his own film and gone on to be one of the great cult movie monsters of all time. He probably even went to college with Seth Brundle – where he majored in Mad Science with a concentration in Poor Judgment Theory - two plucky undergrads bragging about how they would both someday defy the laws of nature and science – even if it meant putting their own bodies at risk… but oh how the mighty do fall.

Incidentally, I may have been right to fear Dr. Jenning as a kid as in 2003 the actor, Jeffery Jones, became a convicted sex offender when he was arrested for asking a 14-year-old boy to hang out for a photo session (and not the kind that ends up in the high school yearbook). 

 

Without further ado: The madness of Dr. Walter Jenning:

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Oct072010

Semi-Dead in the First Glance Film Festival. Please Vote!

Hello Everyone,

Semi-Dead episode 1 has been selected as a part of the FirstGlance Film Festival's online shorts competition.

It's all being held online at:
http://fgff.openfilm.com/

It would mean a lot of all of us on the show if you could help us out and vote for us. The grand prize is $2500 (which, of course guarantees that we can get Season 2 up and running!).

It only takes a small amount of time and you can enjoy some other great short films in the process. Just remember that you have to watch the entire short before you can vote and you must vote for at least 3 shorts (If you make Semi-Dead your first choice we won't be mad).

Thanks again to everyone for all of your support! Be sure to tell your friends as well. And don't forget you can still view all of Season 1 online!

http://fgff.openfilm.com/

Tuesday
Aug102010

Semi-Dead Season 2 Trivia Contest

 

 

So when we did Season 1 of Semi-Dead a lot of the characters ended up being named after crew members and our friends. No particular reason, it just seemed funny at the time and everyone ended up getting a kick out of it.

So we had an idea. Why not extend the courtesy to our fans this time around? Of course we love you all like a zombie loves internal organs, but we can't play favorites. That's why we're going to have a trivia contest! This is your chance to have yourself immortalized in the halls of horror web series history (and likely have your namesake die in a cool way).

It's pretty simple. Each week we'll post a new trivia question that deals with something that happened in Season 1. Answer it and shoot us (in the brain with) an email with your answers. We'll draw names at random if you've answered correctly you'll have a character in Season 2 named after you!

Be sure to give us the prefered spelling of your name when you submit (i.e. if you prefer Joe instead of Joseph) as well as your Twitter and/or Facebook so we can announce who you are.

There will be 8 winners total:

- 4 females

- 4 males

This contest is ongoing: Each week, starting AUGUST 18TH, we'll draw for one or more of the characters, building up to the final reveal of the names of our two new roommates on SEPTEMBER 8TH! Only one entry per person will be allowed, but feel free to tell your friends - they might be nice enough to put your name in instead of theirs.

Here goes:

 

IN EPISODE 6: WHERE DOES MELANIE FIND THE STUFF SHE USES TO TIE UP CHRIS?

 

Ready to get in on the horror? Send us the answer via email. Good Luck!

Monday
Apr052010

Zombie Liquorice - discount for Semi-Dead fans!

 

 

If you watch Semi-Dead we assume you're a horror fan. And if you're a horror fan you gotta love great horror gear and clothing right?

Well obviously.

There's lots of horror clothing companies and sites on the Internet but Zombie Liquorice is easily one of the best - Great original designs, awesome selection, and a wide variety of gear that should make any horror fan's eyeballs bleed out of joy. Definitely check out their newest t-shirts and their belt buckle design - perfect for anyone looking to survive a zombie outbreak in style.

Since we love Zombie Liquorice and they love you and we love you too and there's just a whole lot of zombie love being thrown around they've made us a very generous offer for all of our fans.

For a limited time, any fan of Semi-Dead will get a 10% DISCOUNT on any item from Zombie Liquorice. Just use the special promo code: SEMIDEAD when you checkout and let them know that Chris and Joe sent you!